Apple builds real-life walled garden

Steve Jobs gave another presentation yesterday, the day after delivering a keynote at the Worldwide Developers Conference – to the Cupertino City Council.

He was presenting plans for the company’s new campus, designed to hold 12,000 Apple employees. The present campus can only accommodate around 2,800, with the remainder currently using rented buildings in the area.

The design features a massive, ring-shaped building, which Jobs described as looking like a spaceship. Inside is a massive courtyard – or walled garden to you and me. Jobs said that 80 percent of the site would be landscaped, and that the number of trees on the plot would be doubled to 6,000.

“It’s a circle, and so it’s curved all the way around. There’s not a straight piece of glass in this building,” he said. “We’ve used our experience in building retail buildings all over the world. We know how to make the biggest pieces of glass for architectural use.”

And, with that modesty for which he’s so well-known, he said he thought it might be the best office building in the world.

The new building is to go up on a 150-acre site which Apple bought from Hewlett-Packard. Jobs said he hopes that work will begin next year and be completed by 2015.

The main building will cover one million square feet, and will use its own natural gas generator as the main source of power. There will be a large auditorium and R&D facilities.

But Jobs disappointed one council member, who asked whether he might offer Cupertino free Wifi.

“I’ve always had this view that we pay taxes and the city pays to do this kind of thing. Now if we can get out of taxes, I’d be happy to put up Wifi,” he said.